Before joining the recruitment industry wholeheartedly, I, like many others had a pretty rose tinted view of how recruitment worked. It wasn't until it became part of my career did the realisation hit me that far from the focus being on relationships and service, it was instead on sales, closing the deal and hitting KPI's.
Fortunately for me, there are some that believe this to be a waste of time and this has allowed the Courtenay HR business to flourish inside our parent group, where the focus is PRIMARILY on service and relationships. Failing to hit KPI's won't get you into trouble here, but woe betide you if you don't give the candidates and clients the experience they have come to expect. And thats exactly as it should be.
Thinking about that the other day made me realise that actually, KPI's, far from sorting out and highlighting the good recruiters from the bad, actually muddies the waters and can throw up a smokescreen behind which people who are not cut out for recruitment can hide. KPI's, just like Government statistics, seem so easily corruptible and therefore, are actually counter-productive.
In my book, there are only a few things to look out for, when someone first dabbles in recruitment, that highlight whether someone has the 'right stuff' and I look for these things in everyone that joins our business:
- Can they take a brief well - can they get to the nub of what the client is looking for and are they able to translate that into something meaningful for candidates
- Are the clients interviewing the candidates they propose - the first test. If they are, then its a sign that at the first post at least, they are near the mark.
- Are clients inviting the proposed candidates back for second interview - the acid test in my book. An even stronger indication, if achieved consistently, that they are in tune with what the client wants.
Now, some of you may be thinking, "hang on, what about the obvious number 4? Are the candidates making placements?" Well, for me, that's just a matter of time if they have nailed the first three. Sure, you can get the situation where someone keeps getting to the final hurdle and failing, but in my experience that is rare. If they have done 1 - 3 in a professional and service driven manner, it will come. If not, then that's the criteria that shows they are not made for recruitment.
We don't obsess about numbers of CV's sent out, number of interviews arranged, number of calls made or number of 'deals' done. And my advice is that if you want to build a successful recruitment business filled with 'real' recruiters that will stand the test of time, neither should you.